Round 20 Review – State League Men’s


It’s moving week in the State League Men’s competition and suddenly the finals race looks a whole lot clearer with a few teams dropping vital points.

Elsewhere Central Coast United have all but secured the 2019 premiership with a win over Hurstville FC and a new team at the basement. 

Match of the Round: Nepean FC 1-1 Balmain Tigers

Our match of the round this week took us to the foot of the mountains where Nepean FC and Balmain Tigers couldn’t be separated. It’s a result which doesn’t really help either side in the grand scheme and ensures a tense finish to the season.

Both teams came into the fixture with a lot to lose and it showed on the pitch during the first half with chances coming few and far between throughout a stop-start fixture.

That being said, Nepean FC had the chance to open the scoring early in the opening period when Paul Chester delivered a ball into the box which was parried by Balmain keeper James Conaghan into the path of Naruyuki Kato whose shot went well wide.

Chances were few and far between in the contest and Balmain Tigers best chance came from a cross from the left which found Frank Calgano. Calgano then had a shot which produced a good save from the home sides keeper into the path Mani who hit a shot sweetly which was straight at the keeper.

Neither team could really get going with both teams struggling to produce any fluidity with set-pieces becoming the main route to goal. And Nepean nearly capitised through Jamie Dib with his shot narrowly missing the target.

The game desperately needed a goal and it came in a befitting manner. A scramble inside the Balmain 18-yard box saw after a Jamie Dib shot was cleared to the edge of the box only for a penalty to be awarded due to a handball. Dib then stepped up and finished it off.

The dynamic of the game then changed with the home side perhaps weary from their midweek fixture opting to sit back and absorb pressure from their visitors.

Unfortunately for them though they couldn’t hold out for the remainder of the contest with Balmain Tigers finding a equalizer with ten minutes remaining on the clock. Another scramble from a set piece saw the Tigers pounce. 6. hot blocked by a stubborn Nepean FC defense but it falls to Manuel Angelopoulos who finished to the right side of the keeper.

Nepean FC now face a massive clash against Hurstville FC next week whilst Balmain Tigers will be hoping both Western Condors and Nepean FC drop points in the forthcoming weeks.

Nepean FC coach was disappointed in his team’s inability to settle. “it was a very fast paced match in which neither team took control for a worthwhile period. So, the draw is a fair result”

“Hopefully this will serve as a lesson and next time be able to control the tempo at a slower pace.”

Balmain Tigers coach Sash Tiroski was pleased with the effort, just not the start. “The boys gave a good effort out there but in the end,  I feel the first thirty minutes of the game let us down. If we showed that intensity from kick off, maybe just maybe we could’ve come away with this one.”

Match Stats

Nepean FC: 1 (Dib)

Balmain Tigers: 1 (Angelopoulos)

Nepean FC: 1. Thomas Hamilton, 2. Connor Young, 3. Daryl Watson, 4. Kyle Jones, 5. Naruyuki Kato, 6. Masudi Elongo, 8. Nathan Ralph, 9. Jayden Young, 12. Jamie Dib, 14. Rory Mcgeown, 21. Thomas Bird, 23. Jake Senior, 28. Michael Fakiye, 30. Antonio Perri, 77. Hayden Pronin, 98. Paul Chester.

Balmain Tigers: 1. James Conaghan, 2. James Duvcevski, 3. Nicholas Ivassi, 5. Nico Muscio, 6. Marley Jackson, 7. Manuel Angelopoulos, 10. Alessandro Macri, 14. Declan Monro, 16. Robert Di Meglio, 17. Michael Zezovski, 20. Ayman Hill, 23. Genki Takatera, 24. Daniel Bakrdanikoski, 25. Frank Calcagno, 32. Anthony Villazon, 39. Justin Murray.

Western Condors 3-1 Prospect United

Coming from nowhere, Western Condors are determined to wrestle their way into a finals spot. and you wouldn’t bet against them having managed to bring up their third win on the trot over Prospect United.

It was a tale of contrast; the Condors came into the contest full of confidence and energy. Whilst Prospect came in on the complete opposite end of the spectrum with low confidence and weariness in the legs.

Despite this and against the run of play, the visitors were the one to open the scoring. Simon Zahra was on the spot to finish off a scramble inside the 18-yard box.

Meanwhile at the other end, it was looking like one of those days for the Condors as they missed three or four golden opportunities throughout the half.

If they were to score one though, the scoring wouldn’t stop and so it proved. Mario Garcia opened their account inside the first ten minutes and before anyone knew it Chun Him Yau had put them into the lead.

An insurance goal was then scored by Jay Takahashi to seal the three points with challenging fixtures against Central Coast United and Fraser Park to come.

For Prospect United however, this means their tumultuous season comes to an end with a couple of results to go.

Hurstville FC 0-2 Central Coast United

It wasn’t one of their prettiest victories, yet Central Coast United have essentially claimed the premiership trophy with a victory over Hurstville FC.

The win came courtesy of two goals within the final fifteen minutes from … and Daniel Mcfarlane. Before that point though, the contest provided a much more even contest than this fixtures history suggests it should have.

Hurstville’s defense was at its resolute best stifling the visitors usually deadly offense for the majority of the first period. Then having gained the confidence, they looked to pounce and looked likely before the scoring was opened. Hitting the crossbar from a corner as well as a Jesse Gagro effort going close.

It’s a well-worn cliché though that goals change games and that proved to be true once again when the visitors through Geordie Howe arrived first to a near post Woodbine corner and duly finishing.

Suddenly that gave a tired Central Coast United team the second wind of which they needed to finish the game off. And the result was sealed when captain Daniel Mcfarlane scored from the spot after Arbelo was brought down on the edge of the area.

The win all but seals the premiership trophy for United as they hold a 17 goal difference over their rivals in Fraser Park.

FC Gazy Auburn 1-2 Hurstville City Minotaurs

Hurstville City Minotaurs have lifted themselves off the bottom of the table with a win over FC Gazy Auburn on Sunday afternoon.

It’s the Minotaurs first win since the star of June and you’d imagine it will be celebrated well. A goal either side of the half time break from Seyfullah Eser in very similar fashion. The attacker collecting the ball on the right wing before cutting inside, beating his man and finishing off with a powerful shot into the net.

Reflecting on the match, The General wanted to pay tribute to Cory-Jnr Sharma-Constance who has played full games in both the 20’s and first grade for two weeks in a row whilst being one of the better players on the field.

For FC Gazy Auburn it’s a blow which may just condemn their season. A second half goal to Samuel Head wasn’t enough for them to bring themselves back into the match. They will have the chance to bounce back against UNSW FC and Balmain Tigers to conclude their season.

UNSW FC 2-3 South Coast Flame

A massive result, South Coast Flame have survived a scare against a determined UNSW FC to conclude Round 20 of the State League Men’s competition.

A lot was riding on this game for the South Coast Flame with Western Condors jumping above them the day before. However courtesy of goals to Yuki Mandai, Louis Connell and Matthew Mazevski they were able to claim the three vital points.

Individual errors. UNSW FC paid the price for them. The home side were good value for a goal advantage at half time courtesy of goals to Ilan Kessler and Nima Beik. Unfortunately though, they couldn’t hold out and were punished by a side with more to play for.

The scoring was opened early on with a tidy finish from Yuki Mandai. The attacker taking advantage of acres of space by coolly slotting the ball into the far-left hand side corner.

That sparked a response from UNSW as they would go on too score the next two goals. Ilan Kessler was able to beat the keeper to a long through ball with his effort looping into the net on the bounce.

Nima Beik has been in some form in front of goal recently and he continued that going scoring just before the break powerfully after beating his man just before the half time whistle.

That good work was unfortunately undone though shortly after the restart. Louis Connell took advantage of a loose ball in the box following a corner by finishing into the top left corner.

Two became three from the penalty spot with ten minutes to go. With Matthew Mazevski stepping up and converting into the bottom left corner sending the keeper the wrong way.

At the other end, despite pushing hard UNSW couldn’t steal an equalizer late on and will now finish off the round in last place.

For the Flame, the equation is now simple. Two games remaining against teams inside the top five, two chances to prove they belong in post season football.

By Justin Smith (@smiththejustin)